August 28, 2011 by Bill
In the Coachella Valley, where I live, there exists what could be one of the most powerful energy fields on the planet, with Mt. San Jacinto at near 11,000 feet hovering over, protecting, watching, loving the desert of the eternal valley called Coachella, the result of an ancient lake that covered the entire valley and long ago receded to the ocean.
The sun, like a jealous lover, hovers over the desert in a protective manner, unique and unknown to rain forests and the endless waters of the ocean.
The desert reduces everything to essentials, to the basics of whitened bone. The desert, perhaps more than any other place on earth, speaks of silence, simplicity and solitude. The desert calls to men and women who being wasted away by the stress, confusion and anxieties of city life, yearn for a spiritual retreat, an escape from the demon time, the clock and the calendar that that so enslave us.
All great spiritual traditions began, from a desert or a mountain, with the vision quest of one lone, single individual who, in solitude and silence, saw through the veil of the superficial into those realms and dimensions of reality that were of the timeless and eternal.
As their vision spread, it often descended lower and lower, like rivers rushing down hill, by those who understood it not, or used it for corrupt ends. Born in a lonely place of solitude and silence, in an exalted and inspired state of mind, the vision of Jesus, Buddha, or Lao Tzu became polluted as it entered cities where masses of human beings prostituted the vision for their own ends and vested interests.
Many sensitive people today, aware of the corruption of the spiritual vision, retire to the desert or the mountain top overlooking the desert, to seek in silence the vision, to again return their lives to the source, to the Mystery that has been so corrupted by the masses. The desert, eternally, has called to such individuals.
It is no accident that monotheism was born in the desert. A mosque is a stylized Oasis. The Bedouins found the desert visions of one God their own experience of the austere and the sublime. In the desert, a concept of one God has no competition as is found in rain forests and lands of lush vegetation where many gods compete for loyalty and allegiance. Likewise, it is recorded that Jesus retired to the desert for solitude and meditation.
Everything in the universe is composed of complimentary opposites. Yin and Yang, as the Buddhist and Taoist traditions remind us. We see this so beautifully illustrated in the symbol of the Tai Chi disc. When you are doing Tai Chi, you are moving to the rhythms of complimentary opposites. A desert sunrise as seen from Mt. Sinai, or that same sunrise as seen from Mt. San Jacinto in the first blush of dawn light reminds me that we live in the dazzling, daily reality of the truth and beauty of complimentary opposites, the Tai Chi disc of Yin and Yang. Read more
August 21, 2011 by Bill
I am writing this love song under a full August moon. Since I am a Cancer, a moon and water child of the universe, I have often wondered as I wander, what cosmic astrological energy force is there that is within me during these periods. Some spirit within me has moved me to write of this desert love. Why do I feel that need to write about this? It is almost as if I had no say in the matter, as if some form of universal energy made the decision.
I am not alone in that observation. Many writers, musicians, poets, artists, scientists, thinkers have come to that conclusion. I have found it fascinating, in a synchronistic way, that three psychics over the last 50 years, in different parts of the country, have told me that I would spend the last 30 years of my life in the desert, where I was meant to be, working with a group of free thinkers, free spirits, on a spiritual quest. And so it has happened in just that way. Three psychics, far removed from one another in difference parts of the United States.
The month is August. I have my calendar of the soul that is far more accurate than the printed one on my desk. It is in August that we have just passed through the wonder and miracle of the summer solstice, recently celebrated. The dazzling shimmering light of this period balances the winter solstice. It is the Yin-Yang of the universe, the cosmic dance of complementary opposites. The heat waves radiate out from the mountain rocks that jealously guard our home. The animals find shade and the flowers wait patiently for their daily drink. I live surrounded by miracles and I realize that we humans are only a very small part, a unit of one, symbiotically related and dependent upon all of the other billions of protoplasmic relatives.
How is it that we are all connected in some marvelous and mysterious way to the cosmic dance of solstice and equinox? This “something unknown doing we know not what.” I am in awe gazing at the flower outside my study window. A long time ago, there were no flowers, and then just before the Age of Reptiles there was a soundless explosion that lasted over a million years. It was the emergence of the angiosperms, the flowering plants. And from flowers came the mystifying emergence of man. My flower seeds have a long memory and I too, as I remember that my very existence as Homo sapiens depends on these flowers.
And I think that the flowers of a rainy spring, and the grasses of a showery summer are good and beautiful and sufficient, even though they will shortly vanish.
Under this August full moon, having followed the summer solstice, I am reminded again, that we must come to terms with non-physical reality. We came from non-physical reality and we will return to non-physical reality, two realities which are yet ONE. We are being influenced every moment of our lives by other energies from non-physical realities. It is like ultraviolet light, microwave light and infrared light and many other ranges of frequencies that coexist with our visible light spectrum and yet are invisible to us. How many other non-physical energy frequencies coexist with us and are yet invisible? The solstice and equinox reminds me that we live in the midst of and are supported by mysteries beyond our comprehension. “This Mystery” wrote Albert Einstein “that is the source of all true art and true science.” Read more
August 14, 2011 by Bill
The place was Redfish Lake in Idaho. I was in our cabin, as usual, the last week of September. Early morning, the living room, a roaring wood fire bringing magic. My dog curled up at my feet. Quiet and fulfilling. I was reading, eyes shimmering with emotion, this exquisite closing paragraph of The Labyrinth of Solitude by Octavio Paz:
“Modern man likes to pretend that his thinking is wide awake. But this wide awake thinking has led us into the maze of a nightmare in which the torture chambers are endlessly repeated in the mirrors of reason. When we emerge, perhaps we will realize that we have been dreaming with our eyes open and that the dreams of reason are intolerable. And then, perhaps, we will begin to dream once more with our eyes closed.”
Behind my closed eyes a dream did begin to take shape. My dream saw Western Christianity, that has now degenerated into hundreds of squabbling, fighting denominations, creeds and sects, evolving toward a higher consciousness and a rediscovery of the sacred, that could lead us out of the maze. The giant barrier, standing like a wall between us and true life of spirituality is the neurotic clinging to the image of an anthropomorphic “God, out there.” Like Carl Jung said of his Lutheran pastor father, “My father’s bible stood like a giant wall between my father and the spiritual life.”
A perfect example: During the years I was a Congregational minister, on Sunday mornings, I would always come down off the chancel and talk to the young people sitting on the steps. I had a favorite question that I asked: “You know… I think God is a woman, yes… God is a woman. What do you think?” The young people were always upset and some furious. “No… no… God is a man… a strong man. A woman could not be God.”
How to get past these archaic concepts of something called God is the problem holding so many back from a true spirituality.”
What is religion without an anthropomorphic, supernatural “God”? What remains of our spiritual quest?
The answer is EVERYTHING. Sacred reality remains. It would be a way of life founded upon the sacredness of our very existence. It says that the sacred life is life lived in the pursuit of truth. It is life lived in the pursuit of excellence, wisdom and love.
Awareness of the sacred reality of existence includes the sacraments of birth, reproduction and death. A sacrament is quite simply a symbol of a spiritual reality. Sacred realities include our mental, moral and spiritual growth, the existence of the potency of human ideals, dreams and visions. It finds holiness in natural realities that include not only celestial bodies, rocks, waters and evolving life, but also human beings’ body, brain/mind and spirit. It is daily standing in awe before the unfathomable Mystery that dances through electrons and galaxies. Read more